PPR Group, the French multinational parent behind luxury and sportswear labels like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and Puma, has announced a five-year plan to reduce its environmental and social footprint.
By leveraging the results of PPR’s Environmental Profit & Loss Account, an ongoing initiative to measure the combined ecological impact of its subsidiaries, the multi-tiered action plan will focus on the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions, waste, and water; sourcing of raw materials; hazardous chemicals and materials; and paper and packaging.
“The next five years are pivotal and we now have a clear view of what we want to achieve, and the actionable targets we need to take to get us there,” says Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of PPR, in a statement. “We are confident that this type of innovative, sustainability-driven approach will ultimately generate new business revenues from sustainable products and services and create new business models for us as a group.”
PPR aims to slash its carbon emissions and waste and water use by 25%.
In addition to offsetting the 2011 global emissions from its luxury, sports, and lifestyle divisions—95,100 tons in all—the conglomerate has purchased a 5 percent stake in Wildlife Works Carbon, a verified Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program that uses carbon credits to fund forest-conservation projects. PPR also aims to slash its carbon emissions and waste and water use from the production of products and services by 25 percent while “accounting for the growth of [its] business.”
Plus, PPR will hold a seat on Wildlife Works’ management committee, allowing it to support Wildlife Works’ aim of securing 5 million hectares of native forest over the next three years and to protect them for at least 20 years. The anticipated payoff: 25 million tons of CO2 emissions mitigated annually.
PHASE-OUTS AND PLEDGES
Other measures to achieve by 2016 include phasing out PVC entirely, sourcing 100 percent of its paper from certified sustainably managed forests with a minimum of 50 percent recycled content, and evaluating key suppliers at least once every two years. A longer goal—and a far greater deal—is the group’s pledge to phase out and eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its production by 2020.
Despite Stella McCartney’s vocal cruelty-free stance, the luxury houses in PPR’s portfolio means fur and leather will continue to make up a significant portion of its offerings.
PPR addresses these issues, if somewhat vaguely, in its plan, promising to source 100 percent of its leather from “responsible and verified sources that do not result in converting sensitive ecosystems into grazing lands or agricultural lands for food production for livestock.”
As for precious skins and furs, its goal is for 100 percent to come from “verified captive-breeding operations or from wild, sustainably managed populations.” Although suppliers must employ “accepted animal welfare practices and humane treatment in sourcing,” an exploration of sustainable alternatives to animal skins would have been a bold inclusion.
That’s not to say that PPR’s overarching game plan isn’t an ambitious one, particularly since it sets the bar for some of the biggest names in the fashion industry.”Investing in Wildlife Works Carbon is a win-win-win for us as an investor, for the local community, and for the land that is being conserved,” says Jochen Zeitz, PPR’s chief sustainability officer.
“Over the next five years, our goal is to implement actions that will measurably reduce our negative impacts, which will ultimately deliver innovative, sustainable products while retaining the quality and craftsmanship synonymous with luxury and the desirability of sport and lifestyle.”